Appalling inspection reports, damning inquest findings, and statistics on yet more deaths, have become so regular that those in power seem to forget these are human beings to whom the state owes a duty of care. Families continue to be traumatised, not only by the deaths, but by the failure to enact change. – Deborah Coles, Executive Director, INQUEST
Thus begins a recently published report by Inquest into deaths in prison. Inquest is an independent charity providing expertise on state related deaths and their investigation to bereaved people, lawyers, advice and support agencies, the media and parliamentarians. Their report continues:
Every four days, a person in prison takes their own life – a shocking and unacceptable death toll. Levels of distress are at record high levels, with 166 recorded incidents of self-harm every day (Ministry of Justice, 2019).
The report, “Deaths in Prison: A National Scandal”, contains case studies and original analysis of jury findings and coroners’ reports. It reveals the repeated and systemic failings documented at inquests across a two-year period. It makes shocking reading.
The report identifies areas for immediate reform within and outside of the prison system and concludes with recommendations to end deaths caused by unsafe systems of custody.
The report is available for download HERE.